Case Study – WLG
09 May 2011
WLG | Pop up restaurant and foodie love affair
Positively Wellington Tourism are a not-for-profit Regional Tourism Office in New Zealand and have been working with Hill & Knowlton Sydney to activate their international short break strategy, There’s No Place Like Wellington, in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
H&K Sydney, together with client Positively Wellington Tourism, developed the concept of ‘WLG’ a two week long (14th – 26th September 2010) pop-up restaurant to raise awareness of Wellington amongst Australians by displaying the city as an ideal short break destination and New Zealand’s ‘culinary capital’. Wellington is the culinary heart of NZ but not very well known in Sydney. We were targeting the young SINKs and DINKs of Sydney’s affluent inner east and inner west. The Surry Hills set that was hanging out on Crown Street and Potts Point. For a small Regional Tourism Office, this was a huge undertaking – so we needed to ensure that the two event was a smash hit on multiple levels.
The derelict and vacant former Sydney institution ‘The Bayswater Brasserie’ was reborn as pop up restaurant ‘WLG’ (Wellington’s airport code), to showcase the best of Wellington’s dining scene. Four of the city’s top chefs ran the restaurant for 3 – 4 days each, each with their own unique menu which was chosen to represent what they love about the food in Wellington. Much of the produce at WLG was sourced from the Wellington region, including cheeses, oils, coffee, meat, seafood and chocolate.
From opening night, H&K managed a hosting program with 38 key media and bloggers. Short lead and online press was front weighted to the beginning of WLG to optimize coverage during the event. With tickets to the event sold out thanks to a media partnership with TimeOut Sydney, the main objective of the social media campaign was to extend the reach of WLG’s key messaging by engaging foodies and motivating them to blog, tweet and photoblog their experience at the event. A Flickr account was set up to publish and geotag photos from the event and Foursquare specials encouraged over 124 check-ins from 3,000 attendees.
The Sydney food blogger is scene is well established and prominent on Twitter which made it the perfect channel for engagement. Once the WLG Twitter account was active, foodies were quick to acknowledge the official presence, interact, retweet and use the campaign specific terminology including hashtags. This gave consistency to the messaging and momentum to the buzz generated over the campaign. The Twitter community mentioned the official account 190 times in just 10 days.
This strategy lead to 24 blog and 22 online news posts and over 60 comments from regular readers on the more prominent blog posts. A large amount of social media chatter was generated via the WLG Twitter and Facebook pages, with over 33,000 people reached via Twitter in just 7 days.
Traditional media response followed the social media buzz, with the pop up restaurant receiving coverage from the Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, as well as a cooking segment on Channel 10’s morning show ‘The Circle’ with one of the WLG chefs in residence, Rex Morgan.
Two months after WLG there was a 13.6% increase in travel to Wellington, with visitors from Sydney up 30.8% on 2009 numbers. Additionally, Australian traffic to wellingtonNZ.com (WLG’s key call to action website) increased by 52,464 visits between September 1 and December 31 2010 – an increase of 127% with 75% being first time visits.